Pakistan predicts sharp jump in quake toll
Updated: 2005-10-17 08:46
Pakistani officials predicted Sunday that many more thousands of dead would
be found in earthquake-ravaged Kashmir as heavy rains in the Himalayan region
drenched homeless survivors in mud and misery.
The latest estimate would raise the death toll from the magnitude-7.6 quake
in the mountains of northern Pakistan and India to at least 54,000 ¡ª a jump of
more than 13,000 from the official count of known dead.
A spokesman for the prime minister of the region warned that the cold and wet
could cause further deaths among the 2 million or so people believed to be
About a fifth of the villages in the quake zone remained cut off eight days
after the tremor turned villages scattered across lush mountainsides into death
traps, and the bad weather over Kashmir halted aid flights by helicopters.
A Kashmiri injured looks on while waiting
outside a makeshift medical center in the earthquake-devastated
Muzaffarabad, capital city of Pakistan administered
Government officials in Islamabad said early Sunday that 39,422 people were
confirmed killed in all of Pakistan ¡ª at least 26,422 dead in the Pakistani
portion of Kashmir and another 13,000 in North West Frontier Province.
But later Sunday a spokesman for the state government chief in the Pakistani
portion of Kashmir said the death toll in that region alone is believed to be
"not less than 40,000." This would mean the quake killed more than 53,000 in all
With another 1,350 deaths reported in India's part of Kashmir, that brings
the quake's death toll to more than 54,000.
Abdul Khaliq Wasi, a spokesman for Kashmiri
Prime Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan, stressed the 40,000 number for deaths in
Pakistani-controlled Kashmir was only "a closest estimate" and did not reflect
the number of bodies recovered.
Pakistani earthquake survivors sit on the roof
of their destroyed home in Balakot, Pakistan Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005.
Khan gave an even worse prediction to Pakistan's Geo television.
"Some people fear that the death toll could be 100,000 and they may be
right," he said.
A precise death toll will be difficult to determine, because many bodies are
buried under collapsed buildings and landslides.